I’m doing some deep cleaning. The other day’s contriving a guitar corner has started me on a trend of going through every drawer, every closet…I pick a corner a day. I WILL get rid of all the unnecessary crap in my life so that I’ll have room for music stuff.

At least, that’s the plan. So far it’s going….okay.

Anyway, the result of my late spring cleaning (spring? It’s 77 degrees today and it’s not even 7:30 am…feels like summer to me), is that I only managed to squeeze in time enough last night to work with the guitar a bit.

I swapped out the Martin Extra-Lights (nothing against Martin, but extra-lights SUCK. I hate them…) for some medium gauge strings. What happened to arrive first were the Dean Markley Helix strings.

helix

MUCH better. No more excessive buzzing of the frets, for one. There still is buzzing, but that’s just because I can’t play well. With the extra lights, getting the strings on the guitar not to buzz was like playing Operation. The mediums are a bit tough to press. Well, really just the low E, and mostly just the low E with my pinky. That’s fine, because I already know my pinky isn’t very strong yet, and the firmer strings will probably help build some strength, though when they need to be swapped again I may try medium lights, not because I dislike the mediums so much as to compare and see which I prefer.

At this point I’ve really only tried extra-light, light, and medium gauge strings. I have a definite preference for medium gauge, but I’ve never tried medium-lights, so it’s worth seeing how that feels, too. Since I’ve got that tendency to play to hard, the mediums are easier for me to deal with right now, since they require that little bit of extra force that I’m having trouble not exerting anyway. Maybe in the future, when I have more control, my preferences will change, but for now I seem to be solidly preferring strings in the medium range across the board.

But, the firmer strings + working on power chords is definitely rough. My pinky isn’t strong enough to avoid buzzing yet, and I’m not quite flexible enough yet to use my ring finger; it can reach the fret, but it can’t reach far enough into the fret not to get buzzing strings.

I’ve been thinking for the past few weeks about the guitar though. I don’t blame the guitar for my poor playing – I want to be clear on that. However, I do wonder if I wouldn’t have a smoother learning process on a guitar with a smaller body.  I notice there are significant posture problems that come from trying to see my fret hand, and my strumming hand, since the dreadnought body is so large (some days it feels like it’s as big as I am).  That’s not to say I don’t feel it’s possible for a small person to play a large guitar, but I think it might not have been the most educated decision for me to make for the guitar to learn on.  It’s not an issue of the scale, or the size of the frets – that’s something I’m going to have to practice and acclimate to, and the frets on my bass are way bigger anyway, but rather the size of the body. I feel like – and maybe I’m totally wrong, but I kind of feel like the shoulder/elbow of the strumming hand shouldn’t exceed a 90 degree angle if you want to play comfortably, and mine definitely does because that’s just how it has to sit around the body.  Part of this is that I’m slouching, but I’m slouching so that I can see the frets and my strumming hand. So the problem is with me holding the guitar in a way…while sitting in the posture in a way…but the posture is caused by holding the guitar…it’s all very circular. If I was more experienced and didn’t have to constantly check my hand positions, I would probably sit with a more neutral spine, thus relieving the entire problem. But, I’m not more experienced; I’m learning. So a thinner guitar with a slightly smaller body (maybe an acoustic electric, as that way I could feasibly also use it with rocksmith, and if I can do that, I won’t be in any rush to replace my electric guitar, since I will have the best of both worlds – being able to practice without plugging in, but also being able to take advantage of learning tools that require me to), is something that I am doing some research on and considering, as I feel like something smaller, but still full-scale, might be more comfortable to learn on.

Until Next Time, having thoughts, getting rid of things that are unnecessary, and doing research.

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